The Big Things…
This week I’ve spent a good deal of time working on several different projects in my community. Sustainable Capitol Hill has an initiative to reduce waste in our community – not just with recycling and composting, but also gardening, seasonal cooking classes, mending and fixing demonstrations, connecting multi-unit residents to establish lending libraries in their buildings, showing people how to weatherize, and many more ideas.
I’m on a committee that is writing a large grant for a pilot project, to reduce the waste considerably in one large neighborhood building. We’ll measure our successes and failures, and then share with the world our findings, in a booklet and video (made by yours truly, yes!). In this way it can easily be replicated in our community, and in other cities as well.
I’m also working with another small committee to create a new Sustainable Capitol Hill website, which you all have graciously helped with already! We’ll be launching it in mid-November.
I’m helping organize a Green Career Fair in February. More details to come! And a Green Singles Event early next year.
Oh yeah, and I’m working with a team of great local people with intimidating backgrounds in a wide variety of sustainability issues. We’re forming a business focussed on large-scale sustainability consulting, called Re-Vision Lab.
You can get a tiny snippet of what Re-Vision is up to at the beginning of this radio interview. Van Jones was interviewed on Wednesday, and Gabriel Scheer – who runs Seattle Green Drinks and who brought all these great people together to form Re-Vision – was asked to open for Van Jones. So, he talked a bit about our projects in the interview! How cool is that? Gabriel found out later that Van Jones was listening to the whole thing. Exciting!!
The Little Things…
Ok, enough tooting my own horn here. This is what I’ve been up to this week, along with being glued to the election and economic news. But… with all this going on in my life, I wanted to share with you something small and nice. One of those everyday things that really struck me.
After a meeting on Wednesday evening, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Normally we buy food at the co-op, or the market, or via our local food delivery. But occasionally we stop by our Kroger-owned QFC to get some odds and ends (and our favorite local coffee, which for some reason we can only find there!)
So I picked up my few items and went toward the cashier stands. There was a line of several people, waiting to use the automatic check-out stands. Totally computerized, at these machines you are told what to do by an obnoxious female computer.
Then, I looked to my left. There were three human checkers, standing, waiting, with no customers. Two were talking to one another, biding their time. And the third one, a middle-aged man, locked eyes with me and beckoned me over. When he saw me make my way toward him, he smiled, relieved.
“How are you? How was your day?” he asked, before I even reached the checkout counter.
“Not bad, a little hectic,” I replied.
“Ah, I see it’s one of those wine kind of nights. Good choice!” He said, as he nodded to my bottle of local, organic wine.
And we proceeded to chat about local wines and the beautiful night, as he seamlessly scanned my items, I paid with my debit card, and he bagged my groceries in my little Baggalini bag.
As he handed me my receipt, he looked at me with gratification and kindness, and said, “Have a truly wonderful night.” He honestly meant it.
I replied with a smile, “Thank you. You have a wonderful night as well.” And I honestly meant it, too.
As I walked away, I was happier than when I’d gone into the store. Somehow I had more energy for the 1 mile walk home. And on my walk, I realized something:
While those several people waited to be helped by a rigid computerized voice, told to scan their item, then place it in the bag and scan the next item…. I smiled and chatted with my checker, I learned something about local wine, and – I supported a local job. I supported a human being who needs to feed his family during this difficult economic crisis. I supported someone who really seems to love his job, who wants to do it well, and who is a good person.
And that action is as important as all the big actions I’m making in my life. Every little decision makes a difference.